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Last week marked the return of MEF CONNECTS Wholesale, now in its sixth consecutive year. This edition was dedicated to exploring future trajectories of the wholesale market. Attendees were treated to discussions on a variety of topics, including the current and future developments in the wholesale messaging market. Programme Director and host Suzy Menneret shares her highlights – the event itself is available to watch in full now.

It was said in the introduction of the latest MEF Connects Wholesale online event that ‘wholesale is a significant contributor of operators’ revenues, representing sometimes 1/5th of the pie for some of them’. So, needless to say, it deserves a decent amount of attention.

Messaging, and in particular A2P messaging, is an area of focus for the wholesale industry, and one we like to talk a lot about at MEF. We have seen changes in this industry over the last couple of years, with an increasing amount of AIT traffic, pricing strategies that serve short term player goals rather than long term industry needs, authentication methods that are ‘clunky’ as heard during our event, and as a consequence a door opener for other channels & OTTs that are increasingly going to reap the benefits of what A2P messaging provides to its customers: ease of use, efficiency, cost effectiveness, reach, and much more.

Some markets still see large opportunities for growth though, and this is a good thing. Ubiquity is also a USP. So, A2P is here to stay – that is for sure – but not in the way or shape it used to be until recently.

The wholesale industry needs to prepare for market disruption with new players, business models and technologies coming to disrupt the A2P messaging landscape. Luckily, as it was discussed during the event, the industry can learn from similar experience in the Voice environment. Let’s hope it does leverage it!

The wholesale industry needs to prepare for market disruption with new players, business models and technologies coming to disrupt the A2P messaging landscape. Luckily, as it was discussed during the event, the industry can learn from similar experience in the Voice environment. Let’s hope it does leverage it!

The term ‘API’ was heard on a lot of occasions during the event. We all understand that APIs are not new, and APIs are not generating revenues per se either. However, they are commonly acknowledged as a strong enabler to monetize operators’ network assets, and as such, drive ways of developing new ecosystems, new business models, new solutions, new customer service, etc.

They also represent a good opportunity to overcome fraud and authentication issues identified in the messaging industry. We are still in the early days of API implementation, and wholesalers are still identifying how to maximize their potential, but no doubt this topic will be a focus of attention for the industry in the months and years to come.

AI is another disruptive technology that will change the way wholesalers handle their business as it brings new capabilities to compute and automate, not only transforming how organizations currently operate, but also providing new solutions, reinvigorating infrastructure, and delivering new customer experiences.

APIs, AI ; a lot of acronyms and buzz words! Of course, there is hype in the industry regarding the potential these bring… and there is also the business reality which is sometimes still quite far away from a full API and AI enabled world.

New opportunities will come with use cases, and how these new API and AI related developments bring superior customer experience, value added services and the quality and flexibility that customers expect from their wholesale providers.

Referring to ‘hype’, in the roaming space, whilst 5G has been talked about frequently, VoLTE roaming in a large number of markets is still a massive priority, so is IoT roaming monetization, regulation, and inbound traffic visibility. Talks during the MEF Connects Wholesale event show that resource constraints and automation to manage the growing complexity of the 5G SA commercial and technical environment are concrete priority items in the industry.

In conclusion, let’s not forget that what matters at the end of the day is what the customer experiences out of the breadth of services and capabilities the wholesale industry can bring. A typical example is travel e-SIM and the potential it has to disrupt the roaming space. Customers will choose what is easiest for them.

As an industry, we need to keep the customer experience in mind and ensure we become easier to deal with. The scale of the wholesale industry coupled with technological developments identified above are assets that can help all of us in this ecosystem achieve this goal.

MEF CONNECTS Wholesale 2024 is available to watch in full now

Suzy Menneret

Programme Director, Wholesale, MEF

MEF CONNECTS Wholesale 2024

MEF CONNECTS Wholesale 2024, now in its sixth consecutive year focused on the future trajectories of the wholesale market. Key topics included current and anticipated developments in the wholesale messaging market, a comprehensive update on the deployment and challenges surrounding 5G roaming, and the impact of disruptive technologies such as satellite on wholesale growth. Attendees also delved into the evolving landscape of network APIs and commercial models, as well as the significant influence of IoT business and permanent roaming on wholesale dynamics.

Available on demand now – watch all the sessions now

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